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Mudgee wine pioneers unite: Thistle Hill Vineyard and Erudgere merge

Two of Mudgee’s longest reigning boutique grapegrowers today announced their merger, effective immediately. Pioneering organic vineyard and award-winning winery Thistle Hill has merged with neighbouring vineyard and one of Mudgee’s oldest and finest grapegrowers, Erudgere.

The move will expand the production of premium organic wines and increase global export opportunities.

Restructuring: Both vineyards are located 10 minutes from Mudgee on the road to Hill End. Erudgere’s recently refurbished cellar door, directly next door to Thistle Hill, will serve as a convenient outlet for both labels, which will eventually unite under the Thistle Hill brand. Wine will continue to be made in Thistle Hill’s custom-built winery.

Acclaimed winemaking identity Michael Slater, who currently creates Erudgere’s wines, will also become the winemaker for Thistle Hill from the 2009 vintage. Slater has experience from Steins Wines, McGuigans and various other Mudgee wine labels. Prominent viticulturalist Paul Baguley will continue looking after grape production for both vineyards.

Thistle Hill founder Lesley Robertson will remain working for the vineyards as a consultant in a marketing capacity. Erudgere’s owners, Rob and Mary Loughan will focus on increasing wine production, securing export markets and looking into new growth opportunities.

Thistle Hill founder Lesley Robertson said she was thrilled and excited about the merger. “It is an exciting time, because in the midst of all the economic doom and gloom, here is a positive story of growth and passion. I feel privileged to have met Rob and Mary as they plan to continue our dream – and I could only sell Thistle Hill to people who shared my passion for sustainability and the production of world-class organic wines. I know Thistle Hill will grow from strength to strength under its enthusiastic new leadership.

“I look forward to staying on and working at Thistle Hill in a consulting role and helping the new team in the future,” Lesley said.

New owner, Rob Loughan said the label will defy the current flat wine market by expanding wine production, focusing on the US, Japan and Europe as viable export markets.

“We plan to provide a path to international expansion for the Thistle Hill brand, which will be better placed to meet the fast-growing demand for organic wines around the world. It will mean discerning wine lovers around the globe will have greater access to one of the best organic labels,” he said.

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